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George Lucas And His $93 Million Bet On "Red Tails"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 17, 2011 at 9:45AM

I don't believe the budget for George Lucas' Tuskegee Airmen film, Red Tails has long been public/easily accessible info. This is the first I'm hearing it, which obviously doesn't mean that it's the first time it's been mentioned publicly.
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I don't believe the budget for George Lucas' Tuskegee Airmen film, Red Tails has long been public/easily accessible info. This is the first I'm hearing it, which obviously doesn't mean that it's the first time it's been mentioned publicly.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the film, which was entirely funded by Lucas, cost $58 million to make, and $35 million more to distribute, for a total of $93 million! Again, all said to be from George's bank account. No sweat right? After all, dude is worth a reported $3.2 billion, says Forbes magazine, much of it thanks to the Star Wars franchise of films.

The marketing engine for the film has begun - from the recently released trailer, poster, and touring of the cast and crew (they were at the New York Comic Con this past weekend presenting the film).

My last post on this was on a recap of a screening of the film for the Congressional Black Caucus, which stars Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr attended, and afterward, had a few words to share with the audience on Hollywood's approach when it comes to black talent and films with black casts, and, most importantly, the significance of the success of Red Tails.

To say there's pressure on some for this film to succeed would be an understatement; I'm sure the stars of it hope that it thrills at the box office; but maybe no one wants this to succeed more than Lucas, who has $93 million riding on it.

Red Tails is set for release on January 20 - a period that was once relegated to the release of films that studios weren't particularly high on; although there's no longer some steadfast rule in that regard. But I'm not convinced that January is the best time to release a film like this. It's in the middle of winter; snowstorms are always a risk around that time, keeping audiences in doors. But I could certainly be completely wrong!

As of today, scheduled to also open on January 20th, 2012 are Steven Soderbergh's martial arts drama Haywire, and the next installment of the Underworld franchise.

I'll look for Red Tails to definitely take the box office crown that weekend, over those 2 films, but ya never know. Early reviews might be crucial here. And I should note that it's sandwiched between 2 weekends with new films opening on either side that just might shake things up a bit.

Given that, from all I've read about Red Tails, it seems like it's probably going to be a feel-good action movie, which makes it more suited for a Holiday season opening instead - like maybe somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But there's some serious competition around that time, so maybe not.

Anyway... we'll see. I'm not sure how much it'll need to make to be considered financially successful, but I do know it'll have to surpass $93 million :)

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., Coming Soon


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